Over a thousand undergraduate, graduate, and working professionals from all across the United States gathered for the annual National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Conference, this year held in Baltimore, Maryland. According to its official website, the NASPA organization was founded in 1919 as the “Conference of Deans and Advisers of Men” and has since evolved through the years as a program that focuses on enriching the academic as well as social lives of students pursuing a higher education.
There are many challenges faced by students in colleges and universities that go beyond the classroom, and these issues need to be addressed for the betterment of the student’s overall well being. The ultimate goal of the annual conference is to bring together student affairs professionals as well as those interested in pursuing the field for a chance to network and learn about different graduate programs and career opportunities available. There were various workshops and informative sessions for attendees, some catered to the development of one’s career while others focused on topics that may directly affect an industry professional in the workplace.
I had the honor of attending the conference along with two other Rutgers-Newark seniors as well as personnel from the Office of Student Life and Leadership at Rutgers. Priding myself in attending a college campus with one of the most diverse populations of students, I was pleasantly surprised to see the ethnic and cultural diversity coming from the attendees and presenters. There was a session that spoke out to me in the most profound way about the issue of diversity in a college campus that may be predominant in one particular race.
Many times, students may not feel included or a part of the institute and this therefore may affect their academic performance. The presenter advocated for the importance of having a multicultural center in institutes of higher education to better address this issue, which seems to be one that many in the industry may face as campuses welcome students of various ethnic and economic backgrounds. But looking around and noticing the inclusion and amiable attendees, I can assure that the future college students will work with professionals who are accepting and even welcoming to anyone.
Arlene Hernandez serves as a Contributor Lead and Social Media Lead at The Gem Project, Inc. Hernandez is in her final year at Rutgers University studying English. She resides in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter at @ArleneH1991.
Edited by Deja Jones, M.Ed, Director of Communications. Follow her on Twitter at @Simply_Dej.
Image Credit: https://www.naspa.org/